George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 5 May 1794

From Alexander Hamilton

Monday Morng [5 May 1794]

Mr Hamilton presents his respects to The President. Mr Talleyrand De Perigord formerly Bishop D’Autun, who the President is probably informed, lately arrived here informs Mr Hamilton that he has a letter of Introduction to The President from Lord Landsdown and asks how & when he can present it.1 Mr Hamilton promised him to enquire to day—but on account of the President’s deafness this morning did not think it adviseable to trouble him on the subject. If the President by a line will be so good as to enable Mr Hamilton answer the Inquiry, it will oblige him & Mr Perigord.

AL, NNPM. This document is dated by the docket on the cover

1The letter of 2 March from William Petty, marquis of Lansdowne, to GW reads: "Mr Taillerand Perigord, late Bishop of Autun in France, does me a great deal of honour in supposing, that a letter from me may be of use to him with you. I am too much flatter’d by the supposition to decline taking that liberty, but I have a more powerfull motive, which is to do justice to a most respectable Individual, suffering under a great deal of combin’d persecution. Mr Taillerand is the eldest of one of the first Familys of France, he was bred to the Church on account of an accidental lameness at his birth, and must have succeeded to the highest honours and emoluments, if he had not sacrific’d his ambition to public principle, in which he preserv’d however so much moderation, as never to pass the line of a constitutionalist, which exposes him to the hatred of the violent party now predominating. He has resided in England near three years, during which time he has conducted himself, to my intimate knowledge, with the strictest public and private propriety, so as to give not the least cause of jealousy, but is now exil’d from hence, in consequence of the earnest and repeated desire of Courts, who, acting under the influence of French Ecclesiastics, can never pardon in a Bishop a desire to promote the general freedom of public worship, which Mr Taillerand has uniformly profess’d. In the present situation of Europe he has no where to look for an Asylum, except to that Country, which is happy enough to preserve it’s peace and it’s happiness under Your Auspices, to which we may be all of us in our turn oblig’d to look up, if some bounds are not speedily put to the opposite storms of Anarchy and Despotism, which threaten Europe with desolation.

"Mr Taillerand is accompanied with another constitutionalist Mr Beaumet, a person of distinguish’d probity Courage and love of Instruction" (ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection).

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838) was appointed Bishop of Autun in 1789, but as a member of the Estates-General he supported the civil constitution of the clergy in 1790, and he was excommunicated in 1791. He went to London in 1792, but was expelled in March 1794. He remained in the United States until 1796. Talleyrand became foreign minister of France in 1797, and filled that post under Napoleon from 1799 to 1807, but he is best known as the French negotiator at the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815.

Bon-Albert Briois, Chevalier de Beaumetz (b. 1759) represented Artois and briefly served in 1790 as president of the French national assembly. He emigrated from France in 1792. Beaumetz left the United States for India in 1796, and he apparently died there.

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